Halloween, the favorite holiday of yours truly, is right around the corner! One of my favorite things about Halloween is (obviously) the costumes, and I would bet money that there are people dressing up as characters from the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time! I myself aspire to dress like Marceline the Vampire Queen in my daily life. One of the reasons I love her is because she plays bass (just like yours truly), and it’s very hard to find female bassists in this world. There was a glorious trend in the 90’s in which every band had to have a female bassist, but it was short-lived. There are, however, many radical ladies who I find very inspiring that have made a name for themselves as bassists.
At the beginning of my very first bass lesson, my teacher said, “What are you doing with a bass? It’s a man’s instrument,” so this article is dedicated to anyone who agrees with that statement.
Suzi Quatro paved the way for a lot of women in the rock genre and is most well-known for being the first female bassist to become a rock star. Most of her music was known more in the UK and Australia than it was in America, her homeland, but she gained more recognition in the US after appearing on Happy Days as a female bassist. Although she is known for her bass playing, she is also classically trained on piano and percussion, and she first started playing music as a jazz drummer.
She eventually formed a band with her sisters, which was mostly focused around their looks. Quatro wasn’t very happy with it, but she figured that’s what it took to be successful. In 1971, she started working with record producer Mickie Most, who was looking to find someone to fill the void of Janis Joplin. It was then that she went to England and really started to impress people with her bass playing and vocals.
Before Quatro, women in rock were limited to being vocalists with a tambourine to shake during guitar solos. She had to make people take her more seriously as an instrumentalist, which opened the door for other female musicians. Take a listen to one of her more famous tunes “Can The Can.”
Here’s some more awesome bassists and some tunes they play on:
Aimee Mann: ‘Til Tuesday — “Voices Carry ”
Kim Deal: Pixies — “Where Is My Mind”
Melissa Auf der Maur: Hole — “Celebrity Skin”
Kathi Wilcox: Bikini Kill — “Rebel Girl”
Johnette Napolitano: Concrete Blonde — “Bloodletting” (fun Halloween song!!)
What do you think of these vampire queens? Know any of your own?